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Keywords:

  • Gorilla gorilla gorilla;
  • reconciliation;
  • consolation;
  • aggression;
  • conflict resolution;
  • postconflict behavior

Abstract

Postconflict (PC) behaviors, including reconciliation and consolation, have been observed in many primate and several nonprimate species. Using the PC-matched control (MC) method, PC behavior was examined in two groups (n=13) of captive western lowland gorillas, a species for which no conflict resolution data have been published. Analyses of 223 conflicts showed significantly more affiliation between former opponents after a conflict when compared to control periods, indicating reconciliation. Results also showed significantly more affiliation between the victim and a third-party after a conflict, indicating consolation. Both solicited and unsolicited consolation were observed. The majority of the affiliative interactions observed for both reconciliation and consolation were social proximity, which suggests that unlike most nonhuman primates, proximity, rather than physical contact, may be the main mechanism for resolving conflicts in western lowland gorillas. PC behavior was not uniform throughout the groups, but rather varied according to dyad type. Am. J. Primatol. 68:789–801, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.